The 47th Legislature of the Student Government Association (SGA) have revised the chartering bylaw process, which the entire legislature will vote on at next Monday’s meeting.
The chartering bylaw process determines whether the University will charter a student organization and grant access to funds.
Last spring, the 46th Legislature of SGA attempted to standardize the process in light of concerns that it took too long for clubs to receive a charter from the University. They changed the bylaws to standardize requirements for all divisional councils. However, some members of the 47th Legislature recently reviewed the bylaws for a second time to make the process clearer after complaints from Emory’s divisional councils that they did not have enough say over whether a club under their jurisdiction could be chartered.
Each of Emory’s undergraduate and graduation schools have a divisional council that oversees its respective clubs and affairs.
SGA President and College senior Raj Patel, SGA Attorney General and College junior Chris Weeden, SGA Vice President for Finance and College senior Calvin Lee, SGA Governance Committee Chair and Goizueta Business School graduate student David Kaplan and Assistant Director for the Office of Student Leadership and Services Natasha Hopkins worked on the revision proposal. Kaplan and Weeden presented the proposal to the legislature and explained why the process needed to be clarified.
“[The old bill] was a great step in the right direction,” Kaplan said. “One of the pushbacks [last year] was that there was no concern given to how divisional councils would feel about different clubs.”
According to the proposal, the goals for the restructuring are clarity, speed and transparency.
In the bill passed last spring, a club must have at least 10 members, a faculty advisor, a constitution and a mission statement to be chartered. Additionally, the clubs needed approval of its representative divisional council based on its respective requirements.
The new process retains the SGA and University-wide requirements but adds the timeframe by which the divisional councils approve clubs.
After a club has met the initial SGA requirements, the requestor will fill out an online form that is sent to SGA Attorney General, who then forwards it to the appropriate divisional council. The divisional council has 14 days to make a decision.
If the divisional council does not make a decision in two weeks, the requestor can contact the SGA attorney general, who will give the division an extra three days to make the decision. If the division still has not made a decision, the attorney general will make the final decision based on SGA and divisional requirements. If the division approves the club, the division classifies the club in one of two account types: a self-generated account or an allocated account.
A self-generated account classification has room reservation rights, the ability to rent equipment and access to a self-generated fund. However, it does not have access to supplemental funding from the divisional council or SGA.
This classification costs clubs $25. Once members pay the SGA business manager, they receive access to rooms.
An allocated account classification allows a club to request supplemental funding from a divisional council or SGA. Divisional councils may also provide initial funding at their discretion.
If a divisional council denies a charter, the club may appeal the decision.
An appeal is sent to the SGA attorney general, who meets with the SGA Governance Committee. The committee decides to approve or reject the decision based on a two-thirds majority.
If the governance committee denies the charter, it can be appealed again to the SGA legislature, which will hold a final vote also based on a two-thirds majority.
For cross-divisional clubs comprised of only graduate students, the Graduate Student Government Association (GSGA) will review the charter based on its own standards.
For cross-divisional clubs comprised of only undergraduate students, College Council (CC) will review the charter based on its standards.
If a cross-divisional council is comprised of both undergraduate and graduate students, the club will be split under GSGA and CC. The divisional councils will oversee the yearly re-registration process.
According to the proposal, this is because it will “[allow the] division and SGA to stay on the same page in dealing with which groups have charters and funding.”
Additionally, it will allow re-registration to coincide with when the division starts its year and ease the record-keeping process, according to Weeden.
SGA Student Life Committee Chair and College senior Shaunesse Jacobs said that she liked the new version of the chartering process but was concerned that divisional councils would not approve charters on time.
SGA Senior Representative and B-School senior Markbradley Kitay said that he was concerned that there would be no way to ensure a club had 10 members. Weeden responded that Emory’s online club forum, Community, will maintain a roster of club members.
The legislature will vote on this bill at next week’s meeting. If it is approved, the changes will be effective Oct. 15.
– By Rupsha Basu